David Morgan

David Morgan

Professor of Religious Studies

External address: 
Department of Religious Studies, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90964, Durham, NC 27708-0964
(919) 660-3555


David Morgan is Professor of Religious Studies with a secondary appointment in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke. He chaired the Department of Religious Studies from 2013 to 2019. Morgan received the Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1990. He has published several books and dozens of essays on the history of religious visual culture, fine art, and art theory. Images at Work: The Material Culture of Enchantment, was published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity, based on the 2012 Cadbury Lectures delivered at the University of Birmingham, UK, appeared in 2015 from the University of California Press. Previous books include The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling (California, 2012), The Lure of Images: A History of Religion and Visual Media in America (Routledge, 2007) and two that he edited and contributed to: Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief (Routledge, 2010) and Key Words in Religion, Media, and Culture (Routledge, 2008). Earlier works: The Sacred Gaze (California, 2005), Protestants and Pictures (Oxford, 1999), and Visual Piety (University of California Press, 1998). Morgan is co-founder and co-editor of the international scholarly journal, Material Religion, and co-editor of a book series entitled "Bloomsbury Studies in Material Religion," published by Bloomsbury, London. He is currently at work on a new book under contract with the University of North Carolina Press, entitled "The Thing about Religion: An Introduction to the Material Study of Religions."

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1990
  • M.A., University of Arizona 1984
  • B.A., Concordia College 1980

Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

Research & Travel Grant awarded by Stichting Porticus, Amsterdam (2004 to 2005)

NEH Humanities Fellowship awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (2001 to 2002)

Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art and Humanities awarded by J. Paul Getty (1996 to 1997)

Pew Postdoctoral Fellowship in Religion and American History awarded by Yale University (1994 to 1995)

Morgan, D. “The Image of Religion in American LIFE, 1936-1951.” Looking at LIFE, edited by E. Doss, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001, pp. 139–57.

Morgan, D. “For Christ and the Republic: Religious Illustration and the History of Literacy in Nineteenth-Century America.” The Visual Culture of American Religions, edited by D. Morgan and S. M. Promey, University of California Press, 2001, pp. 49–67.

Morgan, D. “The Masculinity of Jesus in Popular Religious Art.” Men’s Bodies, Men’s Gods: Male Identities in a [Post]Christian Culture, edited by B. Krondorfer, New York University Press, 1996, pp. 251–66.

Morgan, D. “Warner Sallman and the Visual Culture of American Protestantism.” Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman, edited by D. Morgan, Yale University Press, 1996, pp. 25–60.

Morgan, D. “’Would Jesus Have Sat for a Portrait?’ The Likeness of Christ in the Popular Reception of Sallman’s Art.” Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman, edited by D. Morgan, Yale University Press, 1996, pp. 181–206.